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Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance (RTLO)

More than 245,000 renter families live in suburban Cook County. Prior to the creation of the Cook County Residential Tenant Landlord Ordinance, these renters did not enjoy the same rights and protections as renters in the city of Chicago or Evanston. 

In talking with my colleague, Commissioner Kevin Morrison, we realized that there was work to be done to ensure that there was a clear road map for renters and landlords. 

After dozens of hours meeting with housing advocates, Realtors, and my fellow commissioners the RTLO passed the Cook County Board unanimously in January 2021.

The anti-lockout provision went into effect immediately upon passage. The remainder of the RTLO went in to effect June 1, 2021.

Legislation Highlights

  • The tenant has the right to a habitable unit that is maintained in compliance with relevant building codes.
  • 48-hour notice must be give before the landlord enters the unit except in an emergency
  • The landlord must disclose certain information to the tenant, including the name and contact information of the building owner or manager, an estimated average of utility costs, any building code violations issued in the past year, any know lead hazards and if a foreclosure notice has or is received.
  • If a tenant does not pay rent, landlords can charge a late fee of $10 if the rent is $1000 or less. If the rent is more, the late fee is $10 plus 5% of the amount over $1000.
  • A landlord may charge a security deposit, but cannot be more than 1.5 monthly rent. A receipt must be given to the renter indicating the financial institution where the security deposit will be held. 
  • A landlord may not change or remove the locks, remove doors of a rental
    unit, cut off heat, utility or water service, remove tenant’s personal property,
    or interfere with the tenant’s use of the apartment.
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